Growing up in a small town in southern Russia, Cheval was raised in a family of creative talents. His grandfather was a professional artist and sculptor, while his grandmother wrote poems for children; his father was a soldier and artist, and his aunt a musician. Cheval’s love for drawing developed in his early childhood, leading him to never question that he wanted to be an artist. In 1997, Cheval immigrated to the United States, which began a productive era in his life. He returned to the Western culture that greatly inspired him in his youth, but was now armed with his own experience, philosophy and vision.
“Not even one detail is accidental. All details are like words in a poem. If you take out a word, the whole poem is crushed.”
In 1980, Cheval moved with his family to Germany, where his new setting left a great impression on the young artist. Museums and castles, ancient streets and wonderful landscapes of southern Germany permanently defined his tastes.
Music also became an integral part of Cheval’s life. He grew up enjoying American music, and despite not knowing English at the time, the music inspired fantastical scenes in his mind. Today, Cheval continues to be inspired by music, listening to hard rock, jazz and classical music when painting.
Cheval’s absurd style stems from literary greats such as Lewis Carroll, but also has influences from Surrealists Salvador Dalí and Renee Margritte. Cheval says his works are inverted reality and a reverse of logic that does not emerge from dreams like surrealism, but from imagination.
He considers absurdity to be a game of imagination, where all ties are chosen to construct a literary plot. His work includes metaphorical references, and the viewer is challenged to find the hidden allusions, often using the artwork’s title as a jumping point.